With Halloween just around the corner, there’s no better time to indulge in some creepy media. Horror movies may be most people’s go-to for a good scare, but there are plenty of video games that can deliver just as much, if not more, terror for those brave enough to try them. Here are five games that are sure to scare you stiff.
Have you ever watched a horror movie and wanted to yell “Don’t go in there!” at one of the soon-to-be victims? “Until Dawn” lets you finally act on those words. The game follows eight friends who get together at an old abandoned ski lodge to drink and party, only to discover that someone or something on the mountain wants them dead.
“Until Dawn” plays out like an interactive slasher movie. The player takes control of each of the eight friends at different times, guiding conversations to improve relationships, searching areas for hidden clues and running away or hiding from imminent danger. One of the most notable features of the game is that the story will continue even if some of the characters die, which can result in vast differences in how the story plays out.
"Until Dawn" can be played on Playstation.
The premise of “Iron Lung” is surreal, but straightforward: you are tasked with investigating points of interest in an ocean of blood on another planet, using a tiny submarine with no windows and a single camera.
This game is tight, in every sense of the word. It’s a fairly short experience, only about an hour long, but the entirety of that hour is spent crammed in a leaky submarine with nothing but a map, a readout of your coordinates and the sound of unseen creatures lurking just outside. It’s an astoundingly tense experience, and the climax provides one of the best jump scares in video games.
"Iron Lung" can be played on PC.
Unlike the rest of the games on this list, “Bloodborne” leans more toward action than horror. A spinoff of FromSoftware, Inc's genre-defining “Dark Souls” games, “Bloodborne” places the player in Yharnam, a fictional city modeled after Victorian England, where werewolf-like beasts run rampant. Here, the player joins the nightly hunt, slaying huge, powerful beasts while gradually learning what caused the infestation in the first place.
Like FromSoftware, Inc's other titles, the gameplay may seem impossibly difficult at first, but the game encourages players to explore and experiment until they find a play style that works for them.
Where the game truly shines is its presentation. Over the course of the game, the uncomplicated premise of werewolf hunting is gradually stripped away. The enemies become stranger and more alien, and the gothic horror blossoms into cosmic horror, like an H.P. Lovecraft story come to life.
"Bloodborne" can be played on Playstation.
“FAITH: The Unholy Trinity”
“FAITH” is proof that games can be terrifying even with the most primitive graphics. Designed to mimic the look and sound of an Atari 2600 game, “FAITH” follows Father John Ward, a priest who returns to the site of a failed exorcism to finish what he started. On his journey of repentance, Father Ward stumbles upon a conspiracy to open a portal to Hell and must take on an army of demons and cultists to thwart their plans.
Every element of “FAITH” is meticulously crafted to put the player on edge. Characters speak in harsh, robotic voices. Cutscenes are animated in an uncanny, rotoscoped style. The soundtrack often includes the sounds of approaching footsteps. It feels like playing some kind of cursed cartridge, like the monsters might leap out of the game and attack the player in real life.
"FAITH: The Unholy Trinity" can be played on PC.
“Resident Evil 7: Biohazard”
It may seem odd to pick the seventh game in a long-running franchise, but “Resident Evil 7” is a great place to start in the series, featuring a brand new protagonist in a brand new setting with only tangential ties to the previous six games.
The game follows Ethan Winters, who travels to a rural home in Louisiana in search of his wife Mia, who has been missing for the past three years. When he arrives, he discovers that Mia is being held captive by the Bakers, a family of psychotic cannibals. Ethan must find a way to rescue Mia, escape the Bakers and cure the mysterious infection that Mia has contracted.
“Resident Evil 7” is survival horror at its finest. Resources like bullets and healing items are scarce, and inventory space is limited. A lot of the game is spent trying to navigate the labyrinthine house and solve puzzles, all while actively being pursued by unkillable hillbillies. The player can never feel safe, and it is a thrill from start to finish.
"Resident Evil 7: Biohazard" can be played on Xbox, Playstation and PC.